Ecommerce Trends in India to Watch Out For
In online retail in India, change is the only constant. It is a fierce battlefield of indigenous and global retailers chasing market share.
New, innovative features and services are being continuously devised in a bid to woo a very challenging target audience— the Indian Shoppers— who is spoilt with choice.
Ecommerce in India has taken off later than much of the western world and some trends that are already commonplace in US or European ecommerce are the ‘next big things’ here.
We’ve done research on “Ecommerce Trends in India” and made a compilation of few of the next big things in ecommerce in India, as per our experiences as a leading ecommerce consulting agency.
- Getting ready for cross-border ecommerce
- Rise of ‘click & mortar’ stores
- Artificial Intelligence – AI in ecommerce
The biggest USP of ecommerce is that is anybody can shop for anything, from anywhere. Yet geographical boundaries don’t seem to have melted away when it comes to ecommerce in the Indian subcontinent, particularly for Indian wholesalers and retailers selling across the border.
The case for cross-border trade through ecommerce is inarguable: in 2015, the CAGR growth of the total online retail market was 48.8%, whereas the CAGR growth for the cross-border online shopping market was over 63.3%.
Further, as per Mintel Research , this is expected to achieve 18 per cent CAGR from 2015 up to 2020, compared with the total retail sales growing at a rate of about 6.3 per cent CAGR over the same period.
A recent report by the FICCI and IIFT identifies that USA, Japan, Germany and UK have huge cross-border ecommerce potential for Indian businesses.
The report elaborates on the regulatory challenges and lack of ecommerce readiness that arise in the face of cross-border trade, but it also highlights the measures being taken to overcome these.
A beacon of cross-border ecommerce from India is eShakti[dot]com, a Chennai-based online retailer that makes custom dresses and ships them internationally, primarily to the USA and Australia.
eShakti has identified a niche market, a sustainable business model, and, in spite of significantly lesser funding than many newsmakers, is close to breaking even.
With the era of ecommerce also came a whole set of new commerce terminologies.
Suddenly there were multiple points of contact between the retailer and the buyer—in the physical world and the virtual world. As if to emphasize how tangible or solid they are, physical stores were quickly labelled ‘brick and mortar.’
Ecommerce and brick and mortar have so far been in competition, with old-fashioned retail stores grudging the presence of ecommerce behemoths. But in an interesting evolution, online leaders are now venturing into the offline world with physical stores, giving rise to the term ‘click & mortar.’
Click and mortar enables a seamless experience for buyers between online and offline stores, while also making business sense.
Milind Karmakar, leading investment expert, has been quoted saying “it is more expensive to deliver goods via an online order rather than a customer coming to your place and taking it himself,” and so online sellers cannot ignore the need to venture into physical stores.
One such Indian ecommerce brand to set up physical stores is babies & moms goods retailer First Cry. The brand has been expanding its network through franchisees, thus enabling customers to touch and feel products before purchase while also reaching out to markets untapped by the website.
I Ketut Adi Putra, a VP at Berrybenka, an Indonesian fashion ecommerce startup, comments on the role of physical stores in the brand’s success: “There’s a pretty strong conversion of offline/online buyers, compared to just online buyers. This strategy also helps us build trust with our customers.”
The future doesn’t belong to either online or offline players, but to those who find the right balance between the two.
Recently, leading fashion e-tailer Myntra launched a fully-automated design collection of garments under its private label Moda Rapido. What does this mean?
“Earlier, the AI technology would figure out certain attributes like a placket with a contrast that is selling well, a Chinese collar that is very popular or a particular type of cuff design that works well; our team of designers would then take those attributes and design a shirt but now, we have graduated to zero human intervention,” Ambarish Kenghe, the head of product at Myntra, was quoted saying in a news report.
Data from fashion websites, social media and Myntra’s own customer data is narrowed to identify what customers are looking for. Using computer vision and AI on this data, the platform then creates thousands of permutations and combinations, and then focuses on and zooms in on what would sell best.
Ultimately, a TechPack which has all the design dimensions and specifications for manufacturing is created. That is how the line is brought out with zero human intervention.Myntra is not the only fashion e-tailer to tap the potential of machine learning.
There are few other ecommerce companies, who are also leveraging technology at various levels.
ShopClues, for instance, is using image technology to make the shopping experience easier for customers by standardizing sizing across brands, with reference to a standard product size.
Paytm, which now offers a range of items for sale, from movie and flight tickets to various products, is using machine learning to understand customer purchase patterns and personalize their offerings and promotions accordingly.
IoT and AI are yet to become commonplace to Indian ecommerce, but the data captured from buyers, especially the millennials gives tremendous scope for business sophistication and growth.
The ecommerce industry frontrunners have recognized this, and are paving the way for other ecommerce businesses to follow suit.
It’s important for ecommerce businesses to keep an eye on the changing winds and set their sails accordingly. Embitel’s ecommerce consultants provide advisory to clients to help them excel on the basis of these trends.